Maggio Law Firm, PC

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Military parents may face unique child support hurdles

Every state has its own laws regarding how child support determinations are made. Typically a formula is available to help guide things. That is the case in Mississippi. In general terms, both parents have an obligation of support to their children, but only the non-custodial parent tends to have the duty to make payments.

If one of the parents happens to be serving in the military, however, the responsibility for support is taken to another level. The various branches generally hold to the notion that financial support of dependents is expected, regardless of custodial status of the service member. What that means is that military parents who fail to meet support requirements could face sanctions from commanding officers as well as the courts.

That being the case, it is clear that to protect parent rights and ensure the best interests of the children are met, it is important for parents in the military to understand how the expectations of the service and the requirements of the law intersect. And achieving that is best done by working with a family law attorney skilled in both arenas.

In the civilian world, parents who have decided to share custody may be able to set their own terms regarding child support and how it will be paid. The same may be true for military parents, except that more detailed arrangements might be required.

For example, if a military parent should be deployed overseas or is unable to access funds for some reason, the child support order should explain what should happen. An attorney's input could be crucial to be sure everything is in line with state and military expectations.

And as we have already mentioned, failure to meet child support obligations could result in more than just court-ordered enforcement action. A commanding officer could order extra duty rounds, a demotion in rank or a reduction in pay. It could even lead to possible court-martial.

With so much at stake, the wisdom of consulting an experienced attorney seems clear.

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